Culms 30-90 cm, sparsely pilose. Leaves: sheaths pilose; ligules as long as or slightly longer than wide; blades 1.5-4 mm wide, pilose. Inflorescences: terminal spike gynecandrous, at least 1/2 of flowers pistillate, 12-22 mm; lateral spikes usually crowded, 6-16 × 4.5-11 mm. Pistillate scales lanceolate, 2.5-3.5(-5) × 1.1-1.5(-1.7) mm, exceeding perigynia, apex acuminate, at least proximal scale with awn 0.5-2 mm. Staminate scales lanceolate, 3.2-5.2 mm, apex acuminate, often awned. Anthers 2-3 mm. Perigynia spreading, 9-13-veined, obovate-circular, circular in cross section, 2.5-4 × 1.4-2.1 mm, papillose, pubescent; beak absent. Achenes 2-2.6 × (1.1-)1.4-1.7 mm. 2n = 64.
Much like no. 163 [Carex caroliniana Schwein.]; lf-sheaths densely short-hairy all around; blades hairy to sometimes nearly glabrous above the base; pistillate scales lanceolate, often minutely pilose, long-acuminate into a cusp or awn usually protruding from the spike and often surpassing the perigynium; perigynia 2.4-3.3 mm. Moist woods, prairies, and meadows; Mass. and N.Y. to Mich. and Kans., s. to Va., Miss., and Tex.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Known in Indiana only from three stations, found by Deam, all in the unglaciated area. It is common in the Posey County locality in low, open post oak flats south of Half Moon Pond, 9 miles southwest of Mount Vernon. The two localities in Spencer County are in a low fallow field one mile north of Bloomfield (4 miles northwest of Chrisney), and in a low, open pin oak and post oak flat two miles southeast of Dale. Mackenzie has pointed out the marked general resemblance of this species to the wholly unrelated Carex buxbaumii.